December 14, 2009 - by Emma Ritch, Cleantech Group
Copyright © 2009 Cleantech Group LLC. All rights reserved, including right of redistribution.
State of New York provides a grant to the joint project to commercialize the use of catalysts in the manufacturing of plastic packaging.
Boston, Mass.-based Novomer said today it received an $800,000 grant towards a $1.6 million project with Kodak and the Rochester Institute of Technology that seeks to promote the manufacturing of bio-based plastics.
The project aims to displace the need for petroleum-based plastics while consuming less energy in production, resulting in a product with higher performance, Novomer said. In addition, the first phase of the project showed the process can leverage existing manufacturing infrastructure.
Novomer said its proprietary catalyst technology can be used to manufacture polypropylene carbonate (PPC), which is used to make plastic packaging or coatings for applications including bottles and film.
Novomer says its process uses 50 percent less energy than traditional plastics manufacturing. In addition, Novomer's PPC offered a significantly improved oxygen barrier and a stiffer barrier compared to traditional PPC. The improvements allow packaged food to remain fresh longer, potentially reducing food waste (see Packaging: The most important part of what you buy?). Novomer's PPC is also lighter than traditional PPC, reducing transportation costs.
Novomer expects the grant to enable it to use the expertise and infrastructure of Kodak Specialty Chemicals and the Rochester Institute of Technology to go into manufacturing.
The grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority follows a $150,000 award that funded a five-month feasibility study completed in May.
Novomer, a spinoff of Cornell University, makes a family of plastics, polymers and other chemicals from renewable feedstocks such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide (see Novomer releases biodegradable polymer).
Novomer plans to make money by licensing the technology and selling the catalysts. The company told the Cleantech Group in August that it was beginning customer trials, with partnerships expected to be announced before the end of 2009 (see Novomer's cleaner burning binder goes into customer trials).
In August, Novomer raised $14 million in Series B funding from OVP Venture Partners, Physic
Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures and DSM Venturing (see Novomer raises $14M for plastics from renewable feedstocks). The company previously raised $6.6 million in 2007 (see Solar and biofuel deals lead the day).